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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 49, September/October 2008 Bailey, Megan; Sea Around Us Project Sep 30, 2008

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SSSS S eeee eaaaa a      AAAA Arrrr r ouououou ounnnn n dddd d     UUUU Ussss sThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 49 – September/October 2008Japan’s fisheries and thewhales - notVisiting the Tsukiji fishmarket in Tokyo is a uniqueexperience, but I did ittwice: during the SecondAsian Fisheries Forum, inApril 1989, and on October16 of this year, prior to theInternational MarineEnvironment Symposiumorganized by GreenpeaceJapan, and held at the Tokyoheadquarters of UnitedNations University (UNU).This long-plannedconference came at theright time for Greenpeace,whose recent anti-whalingactions, intended to provethat the crew of Japanesewhaling vessels wereillegally mailing whale meatto friends at home, hadfeatured breaking into thewarehouse of a courierfirm.1 What were theythinking?After the opening, I spokeabout global fisheries goingthe way of the dodo unlessthey accept conservationmeasures, then went backto my seat, hoping to workon a terrible attack of jet lag.But I could not do thedastardly deed: I was keptawake by neatpresentations by EllenPikitch and Callum Roberts,both of which developedby Daniel Paulyfurther the theme that weshouldn’t assist the fishingindustry in committingsuicide. But it was theirrepressible Mr. MasayukiKomatsu, speaking on the“Future of Japanese marineindustry”, who really alertedme.Mr. Komatsu, who must bepresented here, is now atJapan’s National GraduateInstitute for Policy Studies;he recently retired fromJapan’s Fisheries Agency,where, over time, hedeveloped a line ofimaginative, if completelyabsurd, arguments insupport of Japan’s“scientific” whaling,culminating in the claimthat whales are responsiblefor the worldwide declineof fisheries resources (seeKomatsu and Misaki 2003).As lies go, this is ahumongous one, but thisdid not prevent it fromsabotaging several FAO-sponsored conferences(e.g., that on ResponsibleFisheries and MarineEcosystems, held in 2001 inReykjavik, which Mr.Komatsu single-handedlyturned into a train wreck),and successive meetings ofthe International WhalingCommission (IWC), whichthis argument and thebribing of a few delegations(Stringer 2006) has splitright down the middle (seePauly 2008, and Swartz andPauly 2008).I had an inkling of what Mr.Komatsu was going to talkabout because he hadvisited the Fisheries Centrea few weeks before theconference, and, during avery positive discussion,mentioned that he was amember of a “RegulatoryReform Council”, formed bythe Office of the Cabinet ofthe Government of Japan tofind solutions (including inforeign countries if needbe) to the deep trouble theIn Tsukiji market, October 16, 2008.Photo by Callum Roberts.Continued on page 2 - WhalesPage 2Sea Around Us – September/October 2008The Sea Around Us project newsletter ispublished by the  Fisheries Centre at theUniversity of British Co-lumbia. Includedwith the FisheriesCentre’s newsletterFishBytes,six is-sues of this news-letter are pub-lished annually.Subscriptions arefree of charge.Our mailing address is: UBC Fisheries Cen-tre, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory,2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Colum-bia, Canada, V6T 1Z4. Our fax number is(604) 822-8934, and our email address isSeaNotes@fisheries.ubc.ca. All queries (in-cluding reprint requests), subscription re-quests, and address changes should be ad-dressed to Megan Bailey, Sea Around Us News-letter Editor.The Sea Around Us website may be foundat www.seaaroundus.org and contains up-to-date information on the project.The Sea Around Us project is a Fisheries Centre partner-ship with the Pew Charitable Trusts of Philadelphia,USA. The Trusts support nonprofit activities in the areasof culture, education, the environment, health and human serv-ices, public policy and religion. Based in Philadelphia, theTrusts make strategic investments to help organisations andcitizens develop practical solutions to difficult problems. In2000, with approximately $4.8 billion in assets, the Trustscommitted over $235 million to 302 nonprofit organisations. ISSN 1713-5214   Sea Around Us (ONLINE)coastal fisheries of Japan findthemselves in. Still, I was notprepared for the vehemencewith which he presented hiscase that the resourcesexploited by Japan’s coastalfisheries are in steep decline,and that these subsidy-bloatedfisheries have become hotbedsof seemingly intractableconflicts. In fact, this was apresentation the like of which Ihave never seen, in any country.But the whales… No, they werenot mentioned! Mr. Komatsucorrectly assigned the blamewhere it belongs, to acomplacent government thathas relied on both the vaultedself-management of Japancoastal fisheries (Ruddle 1987)and on subsidies to solve aproblem that can be solved onlywith intelligent governance, i.e.,with connecting fishing rightswith duties, and providingincentives to limit fishingeffort.The day’s subsequent speakersfurther reinforced the pointMr. Komatsu had made. Thus,Mr. Yasuyuki Yamamoto, of theAeon Topvalu supermarketchain, noted that his firm isforced to purchase Alaskanfish to ensure product quality,and Mr. Atsushi Sasaki, a rathergarrulous fisherman, notedthat he is not surprised theyoung Japanese prefer bigmacs, given the antibiotic-ridden farmed fish on themarkets.Overall, the tone of theconference was one of realworry (hence the absence ofwhales), perhaps bordering onpanic: how is Japan, under theseconditions, going to maintain itsenormous consumption ofseafood?Which brings us back to Tsukiji’smarket, featuring both locally-caught and imported seafood.Japan presently imports over50% of its seafood (lest weforget: this is less than the EUcountries, which import about70-80%), and Tsukiji’s market isone of the gates through whichthis enormous number of fishand invertebrate bodies that thisentails must pass.During this visit on the day priorto the conference, I had thevague feeling that the Tsukijimarket looked less neat, and wasin fact dingier than Iremembered, and that the fishon display (e.g., groupers androckfish, and even sardines)were smaller than before. As itthen turned out, Ellen Pikitchand Callum Roberts, who hadalso visited earlier, had the sameimpression. But we knew thatone shouldn’t give too muchcredence to subjectiveimpression.And then I met Dr. Tatiana Gadda,who did her PhD at UNU,analyzing a long time series(1953-2003) of sale recordsfrom the Tsukiji market. She hadasked me in 2002 where sheIn Tsukiji market, October 16, 2008.Photo by Callum Roberts.... theresourcesexploited byJapan’scoastalfisheries arein steepdeclineWhales - Continued from page 1Continued on page 3 - WhalesPage 3 Sea Around Us – September/October 2008Power in diversity: Bringing peopletogether and putting ideas outby Megan Bailey and Rashid SumailaJakarta, the capital of Indonesia,was the setting for aninternational, multi-stakeholderworkshop to address economicsecurity and sustainable tunafisheries in the Coral Triangle.The workshop was organizedand funded primarily by theAsia-Pacific EconomicCooperation (APEC) group andthe World Wildlife Fund (WWF),and hosted by the Indonesiangovernment. The APECworkshop brought togetherabout 80 individuals from ninecountries, including the two ofus from the Fisheries Centre. Theparticipants included fisheriesgovernment officials,international diplomats,academics, conservation groups,aide organizations, and industryrepresentatives all with acommon interest: ensuring thesustainability of tuna resourcesin the region.The Coral Triangle (CT), a regionbounded by the countries ofIndonesia, Malaysia, Papua NewGuinea, the Philippines and theSolomon Islands, has gainedrecent attention fromconservationists and academicsdue to its rich coral reef and reeffish biodiversity. The focus of theAPEC workshop was not oncorals at all, but rather on thefate of the region’s tunafisheries. The Western andCentral Pacific Ocean is home tomany commercially importanttuna species, including albacore,skipjack, yellowfin and bigeyetuna. The CT is believed to houseimportant spawning and nurseryareas for these species, and alsofor the Southern Bluefin Tuna,which migrates into the Trianglefrom the Indian Ocean. Some ofthese tuna resources arethreatened due to overfishing,which can be linked to the lackof sustainable financing ofmanagement measures in CTcountries.The first day included keynotepresentations, one of which wasgiven by Rashid Sumaila,covering: the legal challengesomnipresent in internationalfisheries management; tunatrade issues; biologicalcircumstances of certain geartypes; alternative valuationpossibilities; current status andchallenges of tuna fisheries inIndonesia; successfulmanagement measures in PapuaNew Guinea; and the possibleContinued on page 4 - APEC Tuna... the meantrophic levelof thisseafood isgoing downcould get trophic level estimatesand I had responded (“inFishBase”, obviously). From these,and sale records for nearly 400species, she computed decadalmean tropic level of the seafoodsold at Tsukiji market, and lo andbehold, her results areunequivocal: the mean trophiclevel of this seafood is goingdown, at about the same rateestimated by various authors forlarge marine ecosystems.There is more to this story, and itwill be told elsewhere. Sufficehere to say that one of therichest countries on earth, hometo a people of seafoodconnoisseurs, is not capable ofmaintaining its catches andimports of high trophic level fish,neither from its own EEZ, norfrom the High Sea or the EEZ ofother countries. There is a lessonin this, and not only for Japan.Footnote1 See the New York Times articleof Sunday, Nov 23, 2008(www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/world/asia/23whale. html?_r=1 &ei=5070)ReferencesKomatsu M., and Misaki, S.2003. Whales and theJapanese: how we havecome to live in harmonywith the bounty of the sea.The Institute of CetaceanResearch, Tokyo, 170 pp.Pauly, D. 2008. Worrying aboutwhales instead of managingfisheries: a personal accountof a meeting in Senegal. SeaAround Us Projectnewsletter. pp 1-4.Ruddle, K. 1987. Administrationand conflict management inJapanese coastal fisheries.FAO Technical Paper (273),Rome, 99 pp.Stringer, KD. 2006. Pacific Islandmicrostates: Pawns orplayers in Pacific Rimdiplomacy? Diplomacy andStatecraft 17:547-577.Swarz, W., and Pauly, D. 2008.Who’s eating all the fish?The food security rationalefor culling cetaceans.Human Society International,Washington DC. 32 pp.[available at: www.hsus.org/web-files/PDF/hsi/daniel-pauly-paper-iwc-2008-pdf-doc.pdf].Whales - Continued from page 2The Westernand CentralPacificOcean ishome tomanycommerciallyimportanttuna speciesPage 4Sea Around Us – September/October 2008Publications Mail Agreement No: 41104508gains to the systemfrom economiccooperation. Speakerabstracts can be foundat www.dkp.go.id/upload/DJPT/Abstracts_of_Papers.pdf. Day twoprovided theopportunity fordiscussion on thesepresentations, withbreak-out groups forming tohelp construct recommendedregional actions. The group wasto reconvene on the third day tochoose from these possibleactions a set of regional prioritiesfor economic security andsustainable tuna fisheries.Now, one could imagine thatbringing 80 very diverse expertstogether to agree upon a set ofpriorities for a complex issuecould be a daunting exercise.But most would agree it is alsonecessary. Megan Bailey joined atask force lead by Sian Owen oncontract to WWF. Our objectivewas to summarize andcategorize the second day’spossible actions. What came outof the task force meeting wereabout 70 recommendationslisted under nine categories,including science, policy,communication, economics, andcapacity building. Thesesuggestions were posted aroundthe meeting room on themorning of day three and allparticipants were asked tochoose their top fiverecommendations. The priorityrecommendations were pooledduring a coffee break, with theoverall top nine displayed foreveryone to observe.This method for expertagreement turned out regionalpriorities that are complex,interdisciplinary, and aggressive,a testament to those present.Some ideas sparked livelydebates, and these included:1. Formation of a tuna coalitionto enhance the bargainingpower of producer countries;2. Management of tuna fisheriesaccording to diverse targets,including economic, instead ofjust biological; 3. Developmentof a standardized regionaldatabase (publically available)for tuna-producing countries inthe CT; and 4. Creation of a tunatrust fund to help ensuresustainable financing of regionaltuna management.Discussion around the publicallyavailable regional database wasparticularly interesting. Whiledecision-makers requesteddevelopment of models  toshow the outcomes of variousmanagement scenarios,modellers called for better datato be made available by thosevery groups. A regional databasewould allow decision-makers inthe area to share informationand better understand theirneighbours’ needs. It would alsoallow academics access to thisinformation to assist withbiological and economicmodelling. One important pointthat was raised by Rashid wasthat a limited supply of data isnot a reason to delay action. Thelocal ecological knowledge ofregional fishers is a largelyunderutilized resource thatcould help in both modellingand decision-making.Lists can be boring, and they caneven seem obvious, butagreement on a list is asubstantial first step. One of themost resonating agreementsfrom this workshop was thatcoastal states have not only theright to enjoy coastal resources,but also the responsibility toensure they are managedsustainably. Tuna resources in theCT, and in the Western PacificOcean at large, are caught byseveral fishing nations,contribute to food andeconomic security in manycountries, and are eaten all overthe world. One might thereforeconclude that the responsibilityfor ensuring sustainable tunafisheries in the CT should be aglobal goal that needs to betackled urgently by allstakeholders – under theleadership of governments ofboth fishing andconsuming nations.Ensuringsustainabletuna fisheriesin the CoralTriangleshould be aglobal goalthat needs tobe tackledurgently byallstakeholders...APEC Tuna - Continued from page 3Participants at the APEC meeting on Economic Security and Sustainable Tuna Fisheries in theCoral Triangle.       Photo by Aulia Rahman.Grace Ong has been promotedto Administrative Coordinator inthe Sea Around Us Project. Gracehas been providing her expertiseto the project for over six years.The Sea Around Us projectwelcomes Marina Campbell,who is taking over asAdministrative and FinancialClerk.CongratulationsandWelcome!

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